In this Necromunda: Underhive Wars features analysis we will be taking a look at the new turn-based strategy title developed by Rogue Factor and published by Focus Home Interactive. The game is based on the Necromunda tabletop game and set in the Necromunda Underhive world of the Warhammer 40.000 universe, a post-apocalyptic wasteland where gangs fight with each other for resources and power in the hope to find undiscovered Archeotecs which could catapult them to the peak of the Underhive.
Warhammer 40,000 – Necromunda: Underhive Wars Preview
- Name: Necromunda: Underhive Wars
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
- Developer: Rogue Factor
- Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
- Release Date: September 7th, 2020
- Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Necromunda: Underhive Wars features a Story Mode with 15 missions where you will play as the three main gangs: House Escher, House Goliath and House Orlock, and learn about their motivations and objectives. The story is well driven and features a cinematic at the Start and at the end of each Mission, providing a lot of atmosphere and lore on the Necromunda world.
While completing the Story Mode, players will learn the core mechanics of the game, so I strongly recommend finishing it before creating your own gang, as it will provide you a lot of insight on each of the Gangs, and how the different mission objectives work.
Creating Your Own Gang
Once you are ready to create your own gang, then you are really ready to experience Necromunda: Underhive Wars to its fullest. Your gang will start off small, but as you complete missions and operations you will be able to recruit new members and upgrade your equipment allowing you to face more difficult operations. Players will be able to create and manage gangs from the very beginning of the game, but I strongly recommend finishing the Story Mode to learn about the game mechanics and how each Gang works.
When creating a Gang, you’ll need to select one of the three main Houses Goliath, Orlock or Escher. Each House offers different bonus Stats, 6 unique Passive Skills and a unique Perk. All houses have access to the same Careers (Classes), but their playstyle is strongly determined by their Stats and Perk. Additionally you’ll be able to start with a pre-made gang composed of 1 leader and two members if you wish, or you can start from scratch but with more resources to create the gang as you please.
House Escher is a Matriarchal house boasting generations of pharmaceutical expertise. They provide Stat bonuses to Agility, Melee Prowess and Inteligence, while their perk reduces the the AP cost of all Support Consumables and grants them a buff, allowing them to poison enemies they hit in melee combat, but increasing the action points required for melee attacks.
The House Goliath are considered the masters of the fore, and they value Physical Size and Strength above all else. They provide stat bonuses to Toughness, Strength and Willpower, while their perk reduces the AP required to equip Weapons and provides a buff when engaged in melee combat, increasing hit resistance.
The House Orlock focuses on the mining operations and control the transport networks between Necromunda’s hive cities. They provide stat bonuses to Ranged Aptitude, Agility and Alertness, while their perk reduces the amount of AP required to disengage from melee combat and provides a buff that reduces the AP required to use Overwatch after using a ranged skill.
Once you have your gang ready you’ll find yourself at the Hideout, the place where you manage your Gang, Operations and Equipment.
Recruiting Members, Stats and Careers (Classes)
You can recruit new members in the Crew Management Screen, and when recruiting a new member you’ll have to select its Career, Rank, Traits and Appearance. There are 5 Careers, and they are shared among all Gangs in Necromunda: Underhive Wars. They are as follows:
They act as a sniper class. They can quickly position across the battlefield and use Skills that allow them to deal massive single target damage in a single turn. They have a unique skill called grapple that allows them to climb to higher areas providing them both safety and positioning them for shooting. They get reduced damage to their Left Arm and have their Overwatch AP cost reduced. Their core stats are Alertness, Accuracy and Ranged Aptitude.
They act as a melee unit and have higher survivability. Their abilities focus on melee attacks and debuffs to enemies. They have a unique skill called Death From Above, which allows them to Jump from a higher position to create an AoE that deals massive damage. They get reduced damage against all damage types to both arms and their Ambush AP cost is reduced. Their core stats are Melee Prowess, Willpower, and Toughness.
They act as a tank dealing very high damage and having increased health. They can be used both against individual targets and large groups of enemies. They have a unique skill called Heavy Barrage, which deals massive damage to a single target but depletes their actions. They deal additional damage to Destructible Elements and they require less AP to perform field repairs. Their main stats are Toughness, Ranged Aptitude, and Intelligence.
Saboteurs act as a support class. Their abilities allow them to debuff enemies and modify the battlefield in your advantage. They can modify and disable intractable objects on the battlefield such as Elevators, Zip Lanes and Health Dispensers, allowing you to neglect the enemy plans. They take reduced impact damage to their torso arms and legs and their Carry ability costs less AP. Their main stats are Agility, Willpower, and Alertness.
They act as a support class. They can build Defenses and Health Dispensers as well as buffing or repairing friendly weapons. They can repair sabotaged equipment and repair allies. They take reduced damage on their left arm. They also need less AP to disengage from melee combat. Their core attributes are Intelligence, Strength, and Melee Prowess.
Ranks, Traits and Injuries
Once you have selected a class you’ll be able to select the starting Rank. Ranks act as “Levels”. Your gang members will acquire experience during missions that you can use to increase their Stats and to unlock and upgrade Active and Passive Skills.
Each point assigned to Stats, and each Active or Passive ability that you unlock or upgrade will provide you with 1 rank point. When the rank point bar is filled your gang member will reach a new rank providing him additional stats and various other effects. Higher ranks greatly increase your Gang Members performance, and some unique features such as the Personality Traits and Leadership are unlocked at level 5+. During recruitment you can select fighters up to Level 5. They will cost more to hire, and they will usually have injuries.
During recruitment you can select the three main Physical Attributes of your character, which provide different bonuses. Once your character gets past Rank 5, they will randomly get 1 Virtue (a positive effect), 1 Vice (a negative effect), or 1 Talent (a very positive effect). Injuries are negative effects that can be acquired after a mission is over if the fighter was downed. Some injuries will recover over time, while others are permanent.
During recruitment you’ll be able to select the character Name, Gender, Face Shape and Face details but the customization options go well beyond that and are one of the best features of Necromunda.
You can customize each individual fighter and you can then apply that to the rest of the gang or keep each of the fighters unique. I was impressed by the amount of options, colors and patterns available for customization and I’m sure players will enjoy spending many hours creating their own designs and Gangs. The navigation menu is also very simple and intuitive so players will not have any problems while creating their own designs.
Since the game is played in the third person perspective, you will always be seeing your characters, so being able to have such a deep customization system is a very nice touch by Rogue Factor. Just to mention some of the customization options you can change: Skin, Tattoos, Straps, Hair, Piercings, Scars, Chin, Accessories, Shirts, Gloves, Shoulders, Arms, Belts, Hips, Pants, Boots, Legs and you can also change the pattern and color of each of them individually or in groups.
Fighters can unlock different passive and Active skills based on their Gang, Career and Rank. There are 5 Active Skill Slots and 5 Passive Skill slots that are unlocked between Rank 1 and Rank 5. Learning a Skill costs Experience Points and the same goes for upgrading them.
Each Skill can be upgraded up to three times and each Skill has its own Stats Requirements. Players can also remove an ability to release a slot for a new one. This can be done as many times as you want but the price will increase each time you do it.
There are many different types of skills that can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes. For example the Lay-Mechanics can build Barricades and Health Dispensers to help to create a fortified position on the battlefield, while the Saboteur can throw a Null-Graenade that removes buffs from a wide area. Combining different Passive and Active Abilities is key for developing a combat strategy.
Equipment & Crates
Equipment can be acquired in different ways such as loot, from Caskets or from the Shop. Caskets are a special box that can be opened to acquire loot based on a fixed table. It’s worth mentioning that there are no micro-transactions in Necromunda and that crates can only be acquire by playing the game.
You can equip you character with 1x Body armor, 2x Arms Armor, 2x Leg armor and 3 Implants. Implants are special Items that greatly increase Character Stats by having them equipped. The implants slots are unlocked as you increase the fighter Rank. In addition, fighters can have one weapon on each arm, or a two handed weapon equipped and they can also carry 7 items in their Backpacks. You can carry any kind of item in the backpack be it a consumable, an armor piece or a weapon and they can be swapped during combat by spending Action Points.
Operations, Infamy and Facilities
Once your crew is ready for combat you can swap to the Operations Screen to begin an operation. Operations are divided by difficulty based on the amount of Gangs present and their rating. Higher level operations will be more difficult but yield better rewards.
Once you’ve selected the Operation you’ll need to set up your Facilities and Infamy Points. Facilities are buildings that provide passive benefits throughout the Operation. There are 4 different Facilities and players will need to select two that will remain until the operation is complete.
Infamy Points are acquired by completing various tasks that can be found in the right part of the screen while setting up an Operation. Players can select up to 10 different Infamy Perks that will affect their Operation.
Infamy points are divided into Common, Rare, Epic, and Legendary with increasing costs depending on their category. Spent Infamy Points are restored once the operation is complete. Selecting different Facilities and Infamy Perks can greatly change how you play the Operation and provides players with many different options to fit each playstyle.
Once the Operation is set up you’ll see a Map of the whole Sector with your base and the different available missions. Your objective will be to retrieve as many resources as you can from the area before they deplete. Once they deplete, the operation will be complete and the House with more resources will win. Your reward will also depend on the amount of resources you were able to recover. There are two ways to acquire Resources, one is by successfully completing a mission, and the other one is by raiding an enemy base.
At the beginning of an operation you’ll only see 2 missions and you’ll have to select on which mission you’ll take part. The other Houses in the area will do the same and you’ll have to battle the houses that selected the same mission as you did. If you were the only one to select a mission you will automatically win.
There are 16 different missions that can be played across several different Maps, and one of the things I like most about Necromunda is that each mission objective is different and some of them you don’t even need to fight to complete them.
For example there are retrieval missions where you need to acquire and extract materials to win. These kind of missions have a round limiter and once the limit is reached the mission will be complete no matter what was happening. Another mission is called Pit Brawl where 1 of your fighters is deployed each round and you cannot extract. The only way to win is to defeat all the enemies. This adds a lot of planning and strategy into the game and makes you think before choosing what mission you will be playing.
Once a mission is selected you’ll jump into combat and the Deployment screen will appear. Here you will be able to see the map of the area and select where you want to deploy your fighters. You and the enemy will deploy one fighter each turn.
You can deploy your fighters together or split them across the battlefield. I love this mechanic because it gives you the opportunity to plan how you’ll move your characters based on the enemy positioning. You can also access the battle map at any given time during the match. The map is really well designed and you can maneuver through the different levels, check both enemies and allies, and all the intractable objects.
Each map will have crates that you can open to acquire Equipment, Zip Lines that can be used to move across the different levels, Health Dispensers which can be used to cure your injured fighters, destructible objects such as bridges, barricades, cover and some maps will also have unique features such as mines or control panels that can be used to activate traps. I really like the level design and you will notice the amount of effort that was put into it by the developers.
Once all characters are deployed the combat will start. Combat resembles X-COM but from a third person perspective. Each turn you’ll be able to select the fighter that you want to use during that turn and the same goes for the enemy. The character with the highest initiative will be the first one to act (this acts like a rock paper scissor mechanic as you don’t know what character the enemy will pick). After all characters turns are complete a new round will begin and you will be able to choose again among all your characters.
Characters will be able to spend AP and MP (Movement Points) during each turn. During your turn you’ll be able to move your character across the battlefield to your desired location, and you can then perform Offensive and Tactical actions.
Offensive actions consume AP like for example shooting the enemy, and there are different ways to attack the enemy. For example you could use your “Shoot” that consumes less AP and perform an attack on a random body part. If you have enough AP you can perform two consecutive Shots, but you could also perform an Aimed Shot , which allows you to select which body part you are actually shooting, but consumes more AP. This can be used to attack parts that are less armored or exposed and without cover, and provides a higher hit chance.
Tactical actions vary and can consume both AP or MP. You could do something like deploying a trap, kneeling to gain cover or reload your weapon. You can also access your inventory to swap your weapon, armor or to use a consumable item.
Once the battle is complete you’ll carry anything that you picked up during combat, and your fighters will earn experience based on their actions during the fight.
Once the first mission is complete the Shift (Operation Round) will change and you’ll be able to see new Missions and the completed ones will be grayed out. Sometimes you’ll also be able to find the location of an Enemy Hideout, and you can choose to attack the enemy hideout to steal resources from them. Once the resources of the area are depleted The Operation will be complete, your Infamy Points will be restored and you’ll be able to start a new operation.
Players will also have the opportunity to fight other players in the Skirmish Mode. Here you’ll be able to compete with up to 3 other players or AI. You and a friend can both fight against other players or play together against the A.I.
The Skirmish mode is very complete allowing you to select from all the different Missions and Locations as well as placing the Timer and the AI rating. Participating in matches against other players will reward you with Caskets as long as you complete them, meaning that you will not walk away empty handed.
Necromunda: Underhive Wars is a game that might be flying low under the radar, but one you should consider checking out if you’re a Warhammer 40k fan, or you like turn-based strategy games. While it lacks the polish of games like X-COM, it makes up for it in the customization, which has always been a strong suit of games set in the Warhammer universe (especially when it comes to units).
Necromunda: Underhive Wars is retailing for 39.99 USD on PC via Steam, the Mircrosoft Store, on Xbox One and PS4. However, there is a special promotion going on until September 15th, where you can buy it on Steam for 31.99 USD. If you do end up grabbing a copy of the game, be sure to head over to the Official Necromunda: Underhive Wars Wiki for any help you might need!